Flower Power Friday

Flower Power Friday

This song began its life in April 1967 when it was released as the B-side of the single “The Birdman of Alkatrash” by a Los Angeles group called Thee Sixpence. Radio stations preferred to play the “lesser” tune and the two sides were flipped and re-released in May, by which time the band had already changed its name to Strawberry Alarm Clock as a nod to the Beatles’ song “Strawberry Fields Forever”. The new A-side “Incense and Peppermints” took four months to surface on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, but once there it began a steady climb which peaked nine weeks later when it reached #1 on November 25. In December it was certified gold for selling one million copies.

Incense and Peppermints

buy the mp3 for .99 from Amazon: Incense And Peppermints

Flower Power Friday

While in the future I shall try to keep Flower Power Friday entertaining by spotlighting some of the lesser-played songs of the sixties, I simply must include this all-time psychedelic classic. Inspired by the “Alice in Wonderland” stories of Lewis Carroll, “White Rabbit” was written and performed by Grace Slick while still with a band called The Great Society. Upon the departure of Jefferson Airplane’s original lead singer Signe Toly Anderson in late 1966, the group chose Slick as her replacement and she arrived bringing this song as well as “Somebody to Love”. Released in 1967 and included on the group’s second album, “Surrealistic Pillow”, both went on to become major hits and helped propel Jefferson Airplane to national and international success. “White Rabbit” reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 during the Summer of Love and is ranked at #478 on Rolling Stone’s list of the Top 500 Songs of All Time.

The video above is a recording of the Airplane’s appearance on “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” in 1967, notable not only for introducing psychedelic rock to a nationwide audience but also for being taped in full color with the early use of Chroma-Key or “green screen” technology being employed to replicate the light show effects presented at live Jefferson Airplane concerts.

buy the mp3 for 1.29 from Amazon: White Rabbit

Flower Power Friday

Welcome to “Flower Power Friday”, the first of a few new features on this blog which I will be rolling out in the next week or two. On Fridays I will be sharing songs which hail from the glorious days of the counterculture revolution. The late 1960s and early 1970s were a time of great social upheaval and cultural change. The hippie counterculture made its home base in the Haight-Ashbury section of San Francisco, where creative bohemian types explored new frontiers in music and art. The key word was experimentation, which they did on their minds with psychedelic drugs and in their music by pushing the boundaries of song structure and lyrical content. Join me here each Friday and we will take our own acid trip of discovery into this rich musical wonderland.

“San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair)” was written by John Philips of the Mamas and Papas and sung by Scott McKenzie as a welcoming call to the Monterey Pop Festival, which in June 1967 helped kick off the Summer of Love and gave a jolt of momentum to the entire hippie movement. Released in May 1967, it reached number four on the Billboard Hot 100 by July and remained there the whole month. In the U.K. and much of Europe the song went all the way to number one. Its popularity is said to have been a major influence on the thousands of young people who heeded its words and came to San Francisco in the late 1960s to join the flower-power revolution.

Scott McKenzie recently passed away on August 18, 2012, at the age of 73.

buy the mp3 for 1.29 from Amazon:
San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair) (Album Version)
Or get the live version from the Monterey Pop Festival:
San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair)


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